Used Acura MDX?

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39,803
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Great Lakes
I was initially thinking of getting an old pickup to use as winter beater and to occasionally haul stuff from HD, but for the most part this thing will probably just take up space in the garage. So now I'm considering trading the g/f's Jetta and possibly getting something like an '02 MDX to replace it. The MPG is not the greatest, but then again, her Jetta isn't that economical either. In return she'd get a nicely appointed vehicle with AWD, and if we fold down the back seats, we'd be able to transport larger items from HD or an occasional piece of furniture I'm hoping (haven't seen the cargo space in person yet). I am also hoping that it would be more reliable than a 10-year-old domestic truck. Am I right on this? The ones I'm looking at have about 100-120k miles on the clock. They have the 3.5l V6 Honda engine and are manufactured in Canada. Any MDX owners here care to chime in? What sort of MPG are you guys getting in mixed driving? Are there other/better SUVs that we should be looking at? I'm hoping not to spend more than about $9-10k. Anything specific to look out for? Do these engines have timing belts that require changing every 100k miles? I see quite a few of them for sale around that mileage mark - I'm guessing there is some expensive maintenance due at that point.
 
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22,726
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Stay away from the older MDXs. The 01-02 MDXs had a lot of transmission problems. The 03-04s were a bit better (only the torque converter failed, not the whole thing), but I would proceed with caution.
 
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4,998
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Milwaukee, WI
The big thing I would look out for is the Honda 5speed Automatic in those. I'm not sure if the MDX had the 3 shaft that caused so many problems on the Odyssey, Accord, TL or not. If so, I believe the warranty is extended to 110,000 miles, somthing you'll want to stay well under and make sure you're covered long enough to know you don't have the issue. Other than that, they're quite good, and will be great for what you intend. Or, you can add a hitch and rent/buy a trailer when you need it for more space than a pickup for fractions of the price. Yes they have a timing belt, due for change at 105,000. With the water pump probably ~750 bucks. I'm sure many Acura dealerships recommend this early, so you may find a gem with this already done. Otherwise, use it as leverage.
 
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22,726
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 Originally Posted By: bepperb
Yes they have a timing belt, due for change at 105,000. With the water pump probably ~750 bucks. I'm sure many Acura dealerships recommend this early, so you may find a gem with this already done. Otherwise, use it as leverage.
A valve adjustment is also needed at the 105k service. On the Honda 3.5, it isn't uncommon for the exhaust valves to tighten and cause problems. With the valve adjustment, the entire 105k service usually runs about $1200 at a Honda dealership.
 

Quattro Pete

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Is this the recall you guys are talking about?
 Quote:
Vehicle Make / Model: Model Year(s): ACURA / 3.2CL 2001-2003 ACURA / 3.2TL 2000-2004 ACURA / MDX 2001-2002 HONDA / ACCORD 2003-2004 HONDA / ODYSSEY 2002-2004 HONDA / PILOT 2003-2004 NHTSA CAMPAIGN ID Number: 04V176000 Summary: ON SOME MINI VANS, SPORT UTILITY AND PASSENGER VEHICLES, CERTAIN OPERATING CONDITIONS CAN RESULT IN HEAT BUILD-UP BETWEEN THE COUNTERSHAFT AND SECONDARY SHAFT SECOND GEARS IN THE AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION, EVENTUALLY LEADING TO GEAR TOOTH CHIPPING OR GEAR BREAKAGE. Consequence: GEAR FAILURE COULD RESULT IN TRANSMISSION LOCKUP, WHICH COULD RESULT IN A CRASH. Remedy: ON VEHICLES WITH 15,000 MILES OR LESS, THE DEALER WILL UPDATE THE TRANSMISSION WITH A SIMPLE REVISION TO THE OIL COOLER RETURN LINE TO INCREASE LUBRICATION TO THE SECOND GEAR. ON VEHICLES WITH MORE THAN 15,000 MILES, THE DEALER WILL INSPECT THE TRANSMISSION TO IDENTIFY GEARS THAT HAVE ALREADY EXPERIENCED DISCOLORATION DUE TO OVERHEATING. IF DISCOLORATION EXISTS, THE TRANSMISSION WILL BE REPLACED IF DISCOLORATION IS NOT PRESENT, THE DEALER WILL PERFORM THE REVISION TO THE OIL COOLER RETURN LINE. THE RECALL BEGAN ON APRIL 21, 2004, FOR PILOT, ODYSSEY, AND MDX OWNERS. OWNERS OF THE ACCORD VEHICLES WILL START RECEIVING LETTERS ON JUNE 28, 2004, AND ON JUNE 29, 2004, FOR OWNERS OF THE TL AND CL VEHICLES.
 
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22,726
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 Originally Posted By: Quattro Pete
Is this the recall you guys are talking about?
 Quote:
Vehicle Make / Model: Model Year(s): ACURA / 3.2CL 2001-2003 ACURA / 3.2TL 2000-2004 ACURA / MDX 2001-2002 HONDA / ACCORD 2003-2004 HONDA / ODYSSEY 2002-2004 HONDA / PILOT 2003-2004 NHTSA CAMPAIGN ID Number: 04V176000 Summary: ON SOME MINI VANS, SPORT UTILITY AND PASSENGER VEHICLES, CERTAIN OPERATING CONDITIONS CAN RESULT IN HEAT BUILD-UP BETWEEN THE COUNTERSHAFT AND SECONDARY SHAFT SECOND GEARS IN THE AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION, EVENTUALLY LEADING TO GEAR TOOTH CHIPPING OR GEAR BREAKAGE. Consequence: GEAR FAILURE COULD RESULT IN TRANSMISSION LOCKUP, WHICH COULD RESULT IN A CRASH. Remedy: ON VEHICLES WITH 15,000 MILES OR LESS, THE DEALER WILL UPDATE THE TRANSMISSION WITH A SIMPLE REVISION TO THE OIL COOLER RETURN LINE TO INCREASE LUBRICATION TO THE SECOND GEAR. ON VEHICLES WITH MORE THAN 15,000 MILES, THE DEALER WILL INSPECT THE TRANSMISSION TO IDENTIFY GEARS THAT HAVE ALREADY EXPERIENCED DISCOLORATION DUE TO OVERHEATING. IF DISCOLORATION EXISTS, THE TRANSMISSION WILL BE REPLACED IF DISCOLORATION IS NOT PRESENT, THE DEALER WILL PERFORM THE REVISION TO THE OIL COOLER RETURN LINE. THE RECALL BEGAN ON APRIL 21, 2004, FOR PILOT, ODYSSEY, AND MDX OWNERS. OWNERS OF THE ACCORD VEHICLES WILL START RECEIVING LETTERS ON JUNE 28, 2004, AND ON JUNE 29, 2004, FOR OWNERS OF THE TL AND CL VEHICLES.
That's only one of the problems. And to answer the other question, not sure. I'm not too familiar with SUVs.
 
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4,998
Location
Milwaukee, WI
That is the exact issue. So I'd stay away from the 01/02. Otherwise the MDX is a perfectly reliable machine, though the noted timing belt should factor in. The RX300 is also nice. The v6 is a known sludger but if the one you want has had regular maintenance it will serve you well. I think the RX330 came out in 04, and if you can swing the difference you'll get a better vehicle for it. I like my last gen highlander, but that's quite a bit cheaper than what you're considering.
 
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22,726
Location
CA
 Originally Posted By: Quattro Pete
Hmm... that's the only one listed in the NHTSA recall database that deals with transmission.
That's the only issue that was safety-related. It is not the only problem with the transmission, otherwise, they wouldn't have extended the warranty to 100k and continue to offer generous goodwill assistance. Head over to http://www.acuramdx.org and read up on the transmission problems for yourself.
 
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